Out In The Wind

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My eyes scan the park, but I know that I won’t find him here. It’s much to early and the chances that he will be here before the sun sets isn’t great at all, yet I go and sit on Dumbledore’s bench, waiting patiently, trying to run through the last twenty-four hours in my head. I have helped someone who might become a friend. I think I have truly lost a good friend. And on top of it all I have given my first actual blowjob and I kinda enjoyed it. Sure, it’s not like I got anything in return, but that wasn’t the idea at all. I wanted to make Patrick happy. I wanted to be in control. And for once I was.

The phone vibrating in my pocket takes my mind away from my crotch that seems to be tenting against my shorts.

“Mom?” I answer.

“Cory? Where are you?” she asks. She doesn’t sound good at all.

“At Mandy’s,” I answer almost automatically, not even having to think about lying. It’s weird how easy lying becomes when you are homeless and you have so many things to hide. I remember how hard I found lying when I was younger. I knew it was wrong and it was written all over my face. You could even hear it in my voice. And here I do, not even have to think about what I say anymore. It comes almost naturally.

“Don’t lie to me Cory,” my mom says.

I can feel myself getting cold all over. I know I’m not friends with Mandy anymore, but I didn’t think she’d betray me.

“I’m at a friend,” I answer. “My boyfriend.”

I feel bad about lying but maybe if I tell the truth it will make everything okay again.

“I’m coming to pick you up. Text me your location,” she says. There is something in her voice that I am almost afraid off. I don’t know exactly what it is, but she seems almost too calm. The mom I know would have shouted at me. Reprimanded me for being a liar. Yet she says nothing of the kind.

“Not now mom. I have something I need to do. I will call you tomorrow morning. Or I will come to Aunt Barbara’s house,” I offer, my breath getting shallow almost as if I am telling another lie, but I know I mean every single word I say. The only thing that would stop me from keeping my promise would be if I were to die somewhere in the meantime.

“No Cory. I am coming to get you right now. Where are you?” my mom asks again. “I need you to send me your location. Now.”

“Mom. Please. I have stuff I need to do. It’s important,” I say, scanning the park again for any sign of Dumbledore.

“Cory. Listen to me and listen closely. We need to talk. We need to make plans for the future and we need to do it right now. There’s no time to waste,” my mom says and for the first time since I answered the phone she sounds full of emotion. Almost as if she is trying to keep back a hysterical fit.

“What’s going on mom?” I ask, trying to keep myself calm. I need Dumbledore here now. He will be able to tell me what to do. Whatever my mom says next, he will have some advice for it at least. I am sure of it.

“I can’t talk now. Let me know where you are and I will come and pick you up,” she repeats herself.

“Mom, what’s going on?”

“Listen Cory. Send me a text. I need to go. We all need to go. We can’t stay here anymore, okay? We need to find somewhere where we can get on our feet again,” she says. It sounds like she might be crying on the other side, but I can’t be sure.

“But the job mom? What about the job?” I ask.

“There’s no job anymore. Now text me Cory. I’ll come and get you and then we get the hell out of this damn town,” she says and this time I can hear she is crying on the other side.

“I will,” I hear myself answer, surprised again with how easy it has gotten to me to lie to my mom and everyone around me.

“Okay, I love you honey,” she says.

“I love you too mom,” I answer as I take the phone and press the button that ends the call.

For a moment I just stare in front of me at the ducks swimming on the lake. Nothing ever seems to bother them and I can’t help wanting to be like that. Just be peaceful.

“They might look peaceful but underneath the water they are paddling like crazy pieces of ass trying to stay afloat,” an old voice says behind me.

I jump up from the bench and look into the old face hidden behind the long beard.

“Dumbledore,” I gasp.

“Yeah kid. What are you doing here? I thought I told you to get your shit together,” he says, sitting down on the bench and giving a small cough.

“I didn’t expect you here so early,” I say, taking a seat next to him.

“Neither was I, but then again, here we are. Two homeless guys sitting and watching the ducks before midday, like we have nothing else in the world to do,” he says as he starts digging in his trolley, bringing out a brown paper bag. “Want some lunch?”

“Nope. I’m good,” I answer, thinking back to my breakfast in bed and wishing I was with Patrick right now. Somehow it feels almost as if nothing can hurt me when I’m with him. Like nothing bad happens in his room as long as he is with me.

“Suit yourself,” Dumbledore says as he takes out a part of a sandwich and takes a big bite out of it, chewing for a while.

“What would you have done if you were me and you could get a job that would really help your family?” I ask still looking at the ducks, not daring to make eye contact.

“I would have probably taken it,” he answers as he takes another bite from his lunch.

“But what if the job was something you should actually be ashamed off?” I ask not wanting to tell him any more than what I already have, but at the same time needed advice.

“I don’t know kid. Isn’t being on the street bad enough? I’ve been plenty ashamed of that in my life until I made peace with where I am,” Dumbledore answers. “Maybe when I was still fighting… I would have probably done anything, but then again, sometimes it’s not worth it. Sometimes it’s not worth swimming up the stream. Sometimes it’s best to just let it go.”

“Do you really believe that?” I ask, turning to face him. “Do you really believe that you should just give up at times?”

“For me? Yes. For you kid… No. You still have a lot of fight in you,” he answers.

“Dumbledore?” I ask as he takes another bite from his sandwich.

“Mmm,” he mumbles as he breaks off a piece of the bread and throws it towards the lake. Within seconds three ducks are out of the water, trying to get to the piece of bread first.

“Do you think I will be able to make it? To help my mom to get us back on our feet?” I ask and this time I really mean it. I need to know. If I am going to fight, I would like to fight a battle I am going to win.

“Look at the ducks there,” Dumbledore says. “See how they are all fighting to get to the piece of bread? They don’t give a shit what they have to do to get to it and neither should you. The world is bad enough. You do what you need to do, and maybe, just maybe you get the piece of bread you wanted.”

The green and black duck wins the fight for the piece of break and starts walking back into the water. Satisfied while the other two are still searching the grass for something to eat.

“If I get the piece of bread I won’t just walk off into the water and forget about my friends. I will go back for them,” I mutter to myself.

“And that’s the way of thinking that would leave you as one of the other two searching for the piece of bread on the grass that is no longer there anymore,” Dumbledore sighs. “You need to be strong and ruthless to get the piece of bread first. Only then can you share, but from what I’ve seen… When the duck gets his piece of bread he forgets there are others in need as well.”

“I’m not a duck,” I answer before I take out a piece of paper and a pen from my backpack.

I scribble down my cell number and then hand it to Dumbledore who looks at it for a few seconds before taking it from me.

“If you ever need me, call me. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I don’t even know if I will be able to come back here. But you’re important to me and I want you to call me if you ever need me, okay?” I say as I stand up and leave.

I ignore the tears in Dumbledore’s eyes as I walk away, not looking back once. I’ve never been very good at goodbyes and I’d rather just have him think of me as someone brave, someone who will do his best to be a good person, rather than the person I might become in the days to come. The type of person who doesn’t think twice anymore. The duck who runs to get the piece of bread and does what he need to, to survive.

I press the phone against my ear as I walk out of the park, heading towards the other side of town.

“Cory. I knew you’d phone,” he says and I can hear the smile in his voice.

“Yeah, you probably did,” I answer, picking up my pace slightly, not eager to get there, but eager to get this over and done with.

“So you’re in?” he asks.

“Yeah. I’m in Jaycee. When can I start?” I ask, swallowing back the tears and the burning in my throat that makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs.

“How about this afternoon?” Jaycee asks.

“I’m already on my way to you. I’ll see you in less than an hour,” I say as I take the phone away from my ear and end the call without saying goodbye.

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